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The effects of biofilm settlement on corrosion resistance of stainless steels in polar seawaters are not well known. In warmer conditions (Mediterranean sea) biofilm increases both the risk of localised corrosion onset and the propagation rate of corrosion attack. Corrosion tests carried out in Antarctica demonstrated that biofilm growth at about 0°C induced electrochemical effects less important than those occurring in warmer conditions. On the contrary, corrosion tests performed in similar environmental conditions at Ny-Aalesund (Svalbard) showed more severe corrosion attack than in Antarctica. This research aims: - to define the influence of biofilm on stainless steel corrosion resistance in polar seawater in the range of temperature between -1 and +5 °C, - to define if change in salinity can influence corrosion process, - to identify stainless steel grades which can be acceptable in such conditions (polar seawater seems to be somewhat less corrosive, which gives the possibility to use cheaper stainless steels).
The general objective of this research concerns the quantitative and qualitative study of particulate matter retained in natural (sea-ice and sediment) and artificial (sediment traps) traps in order to determine the main origin (autochtonous and allochtonous) and the relative importance of different fractions of particulate matter and to follow their fate in the environment. To quantify the autochtonous origin of particulate matter, primary production, nutrient uptake, biomass distribution, phytoplankton community structure and fluxes in the first levels of the trophic chain will be investigated. Studies will be conducted in the sea-ice environment and in the water column and compared to the particle fluxes measured both in the water, using sediment traps and in the sediment, by radiometric chronology, in order to estimate the different contribution of these habitats to carbon export to the bottom. The zooplankton will be identified and counted and primary production, nutrient uptake and phytoplankton dynamics will be related to hydrological structure and nutrient availability in the environment. The Kongsfjord results particularly suitable for the main objective of this research as it is influenced by important inputs of both atmospheric (eolic and meteroric) and glacial origin and is characterised by a complex hydrological situation which may promote autochtonous productive processes, thus determining important particulate fluxes.